Thursday, November 13, 2008

Text Messaging May Help Children Fight Off Obesity

"Self-monitoring of calorie intake and expenditure and of body weight is extremely important for the long-term success of weight loss and weight control," said Jennifer R. Shapiro, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine and principal investigator of the new study, which is published in the November/December 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Traditionally, paper diaries are the tool most often used for self-monitoring. While a paper diary can be very effective, Shapiro and her colleagues had a hunch that the same concept might work better in children if they could report their self-monitoring via cell phone text messaging - and receive feedback messages in return. ‘Cell phone text messaging is something that's very familiar to most children now, since they've grown up with it,’ Shapiro said. ‘By using this technology, we were hoping to make self-monitoring seem more like fun to them and less like work.’ Fifty-eight children aged 5 to 13 and their parents participated in Shapiro's study, which was conducted at UNC Hospitals, and 31 families completed the study. The participating families were randomized into three groups: one that reported self-monitoring via cell phone text messaging, another group that reported self-monitoring in a paper diary, and a no-monitoring control group. The study results show that children in the text-messaging group had a lower attrition rate from the study (28 percent) than both the paper diary (61 percent) and the control group (50 percent). They also had a significantly greater adherence to self-monitoring than the paper diary group, 43 percent versus 19 percent. The study concludes that cell phone text messaging may be a useful tool for self-monitoring of healthy behaviors in children, and suggests more broadly that novel technologies may play a role in improving health.”

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/129111.php

1 comment:

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